Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flounder Fishing

Being from the Tampa Bay area and mostly fishing down south I don’t have a lot of information on fish that reside to colder waters, one of the fish I do know a thing or two about are flounder fish. Flounder fishing is mostly done in cold waters, they like the temperature to be about 50 degrees all the way up to about 80 is what they can stand, the colder the better. So if you are looking for flounder in south Florida, you may have a hard time finding them as they are very scarce in those warm waters.

There are two types of flounders that Florida keeps records of, and those are the Summer Flounder, which the record is 22 pounds 7 ounces, and they are commonly found in northeast Florida in the summer and spring season. The other common type of Florida flounder that they hold records for are the Southern flounder, also referred to as the mud flounder. They can be found almost anywhere in Florida saltwater except the south, as I said they prefer the colder waters.

I have found in my years of saltwater fishing Tampa Bay, that flounder to get picked up and caught a lot, I have landed more than a few in my day. Now flounder fishing is not my area of expertise but I will share with you how I catch flounder in the Tampa Bay area.

Let’ start with the saltwater fishing tackle, I use a 7 foot spinning rod and reel, with 12 pound test. Some anglers may choose to use a heavier fishing line but this is what I use, and it makes the fight of the fish that much more fun. I fish from bridges with big pilings that have a good strong current, so the ideal sinker weight and type would be an egg sinker from 1 to 2 ounces, also using a black barrel swivel along with a 50# test leader line. When it comes to hooks, I almost always use circle hooks, especially if I am inshore fishing. Circle hooks may be a bit more expensive but I find that I land a lot more fish when I use them, especially when I am flounder fishing.

The next step to flounder fishing is choosing the right kind of bait. I use live bait, preferably 6-9 inch finger mullet. I will usually go to a different bridge and try to net some finger mullet with a cast net, then I will keep them alive with a bait bucket, or at least try to. Once I get to the spot where I think the flounder are at I will tie the bait bucket off and drop it in the water to keep them alive. I hook the finger mullet through the top lip and then I drop the line down in the current and let the tide take it. Now once I get a hit I will let the flounder run a little bit, since I use circle hooks the hook usually will set itself.

One very big mistake that fishermen will make when flounder fishing is setting the hook to early, they do not swallow the bait immediately, some might wait up to a minute to set the hook while others will wait a couple of seconds. This is why I choose to use circle hooks when flounder fishing, circle hooks are self setting and you will greatly increase the percentage of fish you will land.

If you can’t get a hold of any finger mullet, my next choice of live bait would be some jumbo live shrimp. Hook them through the head and use them the same way that you would use the finger mullet. I have read and heard of flounder being caught using artificial bait, but I have never tried it so I can’t tell you how well it will work. Everywhere I’ve read and heard, live bait works much better, the choice is up to you with what you want to use as bait to catch flounder.

The Florida fishing regulations for flounder are as follows. There is no closed season for flounder fishing, they must be at least 12 inches in length, and there is no maximum size for flounder. The daily bag limit for flounder is 10. If anyone else has any suggestions or input about flounder fishing please feel free to share it here, I am no expert at Florida flounder fishing and I wish to get some more information on catching these types of fish myself. Some other types of fish that you may hook up with when flounder fishing are snook, redfish, seatrout, and small sharks.

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